Amnesty: FG To Pay Ex-Militants

The Federal Government has concluded plans to pay overdue cash arrears it owes ex-militants since 2009.

The move, coming on the heels of protest over the slash in the budget for the payment, is part of government’s plan to solve the resumed attack of oil facilities by the militants.

“We advise all to remain calm as all stipend arrears and other outstanding payments under the program will soon be paid,” the office of the amnesty program said yesterday in a statement.

The government, according to Reuters, has been holding talks with militants to end attacks on crude pipelines, which reduced Nigeria’s output by 700,000 barrels a day for several months last year.

Authorities had originally cut the budget for cash payments to militants to end corruption. They later resumed payments to keep pipeline attacks from crippling vital oil revenues.

Two months of stipends were paid out in January, but the amnesty office said the federal government had not sent foreign schools fees and other allowances yet.

Each former militant is entitled under the amnesty to 65,000 naira a month plus job training.

President Muhammadu Buhari met Niger Delta leaders and representatives for the militants in November to discuss their demands but little progress has emerged publicly since then.

The militants and residents who sympathize with them say they want a greater share of Nigeria’s oil wealth to go to the impoverished region.

Crude sales make up about 70 percent of government revenue and the attacks have worsened an economic crisis brought on by low global oil prices.